I Should Be Walking
It's Sunday, October 18th. It's a really nice day. I shouldn't be inside writing this post; I should be outside walking. Specifically, I should be walking in the local park with my family. More specifically, I should be walking in the park with my family and hundreds of other people as we raise awareness about suicide. But this year there is no physical walk. And, sad to say, this year, with all the crazy that's been going on, I haven't been focused on a virtual walk or even given my all to try and raise funds. For that I am sorry. But I thought I might make up for that, at least partially, by writing this and hopefully encouraging you (whoever you might be) to make a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (My page can be found here)
There has been a walk, practically in my backyard, for the past three years. Although the AFSP has walks all over the country, this one came about predominantly as a result of a young man's suicide in town. But the walk is not about him. It is about all those who we have lost, and sadly I cannot say that he is the only person I have known who committed suicide. There is the friend I didn't know as well as I would have liked to and whose name pops up on LinkedIn feed when his work anniversary comes up. There is the cousin who I did not know well who died much too young. There is the friend of a friend...The list is far too long.
Covid-19 has robbed us of the opportunity to walk together, but I will not forget what we SHOULD have done today. I will not forget those who have been lost. I WILL remind anyone who reads this that you are NOT alone. Do not let your voice be silenced. Do not be afraid to speak. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
And there is help. There IS someone who will listen. There is ALWAYS someone. And if you are in that dark place; if you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
There IS help. There are people who care. Which is why it was always so powerful to attend one of these walks. To see hundreds (I may be underestimating) of people lined up to walk. To walk in memory. To walk to support. To walk with compassion. To walk with care. To walk to show that this is more than just one person; that together we can have the conversation about mental health. To walk to stop the shame. To walk to do what we can to stop this.
I will be walking today. Just like I walk pretty much every day. But although today's walk will look different than years past; I will still walk. I will walk next year (even if there isn't a physical walk). And I will walk the year after that and after that. Because I'm committed to this cause...even if I have put it in my back pocket for a while; I'm pulling it out now.
Again, if you'd like to help in this fight and/or support this cause: https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.participant&participantID=2291257
Let's all walk together; even if we have do to so apart.